Monday, August 12, 2013

A new 'Simply Basics 101' tutorial...

There was such an overwhelming response to my 5-day design tutorial last week that I thought I'd randomly share a few more hints over coming weeks that may help you with your sewing, especially if you're fairly new to stitching and quilting.

Two years ago I did a binding tutorial HERE which I titled 'Simply Basics 101', so I'll give all these little tutorials that same name, ok?

Today, let me share about
..neat machine quilting finishes..

This weekend I have been sewing another table runner, which will be inside the next issue of my magazine, Elefantz HOME e-zine, on September 6th.
When all my piecing was done,  and the runner was sandwiched with wadding and backing, it was time for the machine quilting. Now, I'm a pretty basic machine quilter. No lovely stippling for me - one day when I have time spare to learn perhaps.
But I really do enjoy outline quilting, which is sometimes called echo quilting. It means I quilt a little way  outside of the ditch.
This design has a few 'Road to California' blocks across the length of the runner, and you can see by the photo of the block below what the outline quilting looks like, though at this stage I still had a bit more to do around the border of the block and inside the centre square...
Today I thought you may like to know how to have lovely neat finishes to your machine quilting, on both the front and the back of your quilted project. These are the sort of things I wish I'd known as a newbie back in 2005.

Always begin with a nice long length of thread from your bobbin, and your top thread, before you begin stitching. You'll need this later.

I have started and finished the quilting of the solid salmon pink section of the block at the same spot, and have trimmed the thread to give me a tail around 6 inch long. I trim both threads (the start and the finish thread) to the same length...

Thread your hand embroidery needle with these threads...

Insert your needle into the place where the machine quilting began and finished...but do not push it through the back of the fabric.

You want to hide the needle inside the wadding, about 1" past the spot where you inserted the needle...

Pull the thread right through, making sure it's only running through the wadding and isn't showing through the back of the quilt top...

Give the thread a very gentle pull and trim the end with your scissors...

When the fabric relaxes again the thread will have 'disappeared', and you have lovely neat finish to your machine quilting!

Next, follow the same steps with the threads at the back of your quilt. It's important for  both front and back to both be neat.

I hope that little hint was of help to someone.

Here is the completed 'Road to California' block with all the outline quilting finished. 
I had to giggle with this project because it contains three 'Road to California' blocks, and the name of the fabrics I've used to piece the table runner is 'California Girl'!

So the name of the completed project better have 'California' in it, don't you think?

I'm off to stitch with friends today. 
Hope you've found a few buddies to stitch with occasionally? If not, start a group yourself. That's what I did. 



  1. I've not really learned how to quilt myself, but love this type of quilting.....thanks!

  2. Thank you Jenny !
    I love your work :)

  3. What a fabulously invaluable tip. I'll certainly be using this technique in my current quilt.
    Thank you so much for sharing <3

  4. Thanks for the tip! Two questions: my machine automatically pushes the top thread to the back when it cuts my thread so I end with one starting thread on top and three threads on the back - can I still finish it this way? And my other question is really just me expressing a surprise: do you not need to knot the threads first? I would have thought the stitches might come undone in the wash!

  5. Thanks for the tips. I need all that I can get since I am new at this. I love the and since I live in California, I think that is a sign for me to try to make this one! :-)

  6. I love lots ot tips when it comes to quilting, thank you Jenny.

  7. You've explained this very well Jenny!! Luv it!! ... I like to tie a knot before burying the threads, and usually tend to use a open-headed needle, but that's just me :) Everything else is the same though. Hugs xx

  8. My quilting skills are nil so I truly appreciate your sharing this wonderful technique. Your work is always such perfection. Thank you very much. Creative Hearts are Happy Hearts...

  9. Thanks for the great tip Jenny - and the photography is so good. Have a lovely week :)

  10. Thanks for the tips Jen - keep them coming please!

  11. what a great tip Jenny, your block looks great roll on september when the next ezine comes out.

  12. That is a terrific tip, and just what I need as I'm just about to start sewing the sandwich of my very first quilt! Thank you so much - and just like you, I started my own craft group, and we all share our various skills and support each other. Enjoy your day, Chrissie x

  13. such a clever chicky you are Jen-girl, I've learnt something from you today now that I never knew before too!!!! xoxoxoxoxox

  14. Thank you so much for the wonderful tips, I wondered how you finish machine quilting neatly, now I know! Wendy

  15. Thanks for your tutorial on finishing. Hugs.....

  16. Great to read you have blessed many more with you post today Jen, love the fabric you have used ion your day I too will be able to go sewing with friends, cheers Vickie

  17. Very neat quilting finish but I'm curious that you don't knot your thread before hiding it. Do you ever have any problems with the stitching coming loose? I'm a California Girl!

  18. OMG!!! Thank you so much for this. I do a lot of small quilting and those ends drove me nuts (actually a short put). I followed what the leaders in this industry said to do but I love yours. Thanks again!

  19. Thanks so much for this tip. Who would have thought hiding those threads could be so simple? I machine quilt the baby quilts I make and have struggled with those threads for years. Thanks again.

  20. Another great tip, Jenny. I hope you had/have a wonderful stitching day with your friends.

  21. How wonderful you have stitching friends! Monday is the day a friend comes to my house, too, for the morning.

  22. Lovely quilting. Thanks for the information.


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